My house got raided several months ago by police, with a warrant to seize any drugs on the premises they found an ounce of weed and a scale in my bedroom and now I’m facing possession with intent to distribute and drug paraphernalia charges. My main question is how effective are public defenders (because I can’t afford an attorney) and if there were any other options available. Thank you
You do not have a choice. You can either afford to hire a private lawyer or you cannot. If one is not declared indigent then one must hire private counsel. On the other hand if you are indigent then a PD should be appointed.
As to public defenders, in my experience although they generally cannot afford to offer up the time and personalized attention that a private lawyer brings to the table (albeit at a price), PD's are almost all excellent attorneys, generally being extremely well-versed in both the law and their courtrooms.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to either get hired as, or to remain employed as, a PD. It takes brains, ethics, effort and commitment. It is an often times thankless job and attorney's who are not committed to it simply do not last. For those who do, however, their client's benefit not only from the day-to-day knowledge of their individual courtrooms (including but not limited to knowing the tendencies of their Judge, their prosecutors and the other instrumental court personnel) but also from the vast resources that the PD brings to the table (investigators, experts, etcetera) without further expense to the client.
That said, if you can afford to hire private counsel then you should, if for no other reason than to free up those resources for the many others who are less fortunate than your family.
Wishing you and yours the best of luck and I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.
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Some public defenders are better than most (not all) private attorneys, many public defenders are worse than the average private attorney. My advice is that if you can afford a good attorney, it will be a good investment. Otherwise, you are just rolling the dice to see what type of public defender is assigned to you.
There are 3 choices.
1. Go with Public Defender
2. Hire a lawyer
3. Represent yourself
Two and three are out which leaves only one
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